Film review: RBG

Anne Joseph enjoys a documentary about Supreme Court judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg


She may be very tiny in stature but this inspiring and affectionate documentary narrates the outsized influence, achievements and legacy of 85-year-old liberal US Supreme Court Justice and unexpected pop cultural icon, Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Described by Bill Clinton (who appointed her to the SC in 1993) as a pioneering women’s advocate, directors Julie Cohen and Betsy West explore Ginsburg’s life and work through archival footage, interviews with family, friends and colleagues - and Ginsburg herself.

A woman of renowned reserve, Ginsburg’s career has been defined by her fierce intellect as well as a strong determination to use the law as an instrument of change. Her own experience of discrimination would, in many ways, define her work. She became a lawyer in 1950s — a time when few women were encouraged to do so: her gender meant that no New York law firm would give her a job. In 1970s, Ginsburg acted in landmark cases — fighting for equality and challenging gender-based discrimination for both women and men.

At times, the filmmakers take a light-hearted approach but this does not detract from their ability to provide a thorough portrait. In addition to charting Ginsburg’s professional contributions, the film affectingly chronicles RBG’s other great love —that of her husband, Marty Ginsburg, also a lawyer, who consistently supported and championed his wife in her career.

Ginsburg’s commitment remains undiminished and she says that she intends to serve until the age of 90. RBG was made prior to Brett Kavanaugh’s controversial nomination and with the Court’s increasing politicisation, for many, her voice and dissenting opinions are of growing importance and her continuing presence essential.



Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...


Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive